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Warren Buffett News: Healthcare – the tapeworm of the American economy

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAYWarren Buffett says healthcare is ‘the tapeworm of the American economy’ (TheHill)
Buffett praised President Obama’s reform law but said healthcare costs remain the “No. 1 problem” for business. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett on Friday called healthcare “the tapeworm of the American economy.” Buffett, co-hosting Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, called President Obama’s healthcare law a “step in the right direction,” but said the high cost of insuring employees remains a drag on business.

Buffett Empowers Deputies By Raising Funds To $8 Billion (Bloomberg)
Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), is entrusting more of his company’s investments to deputy stock pickers as he prepares the firm for his eventual departure. Ted Weschler and Todd Combs, former hedge-fund managers hired in the past two years, will probably oversee about $4 billion apiece for Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire, Buffett said in a July 13 interview with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.” Each oversaw about $2.75 billion at the beginning of the year, he said.

Buffett: Wells Fargo Should Aim for $1T in Mortgages (BusinessWeek)
Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) (A), said Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) (WFC)’s dominance of U.S. home lending will pay off as the housing market rebounds. “They’ve got a sensational mortgage operation,” Buffett said today on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop With Betty Liu” program in an interview from the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. “The total mortgage market was at the $3 trillion level not that long ago. If it goes back up to $3 trillion, I hope Wells is doing a third of those.”

Warren Buffett pontificates on JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, newspapers (LATimes)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett had opinions to spare Friday, when he dished on JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Wells Fargo’s home lending prowess, the future of the euro and newspapers, Facebook and more. “I’ve had enough mistakes of my own that I’m very forgiving when something like that happens,” said the Berkshire Hathaway chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s huge trading losses.

Buying Facebook stock for a pop was terrible idea: Warren Buffett (IndiaTimes)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Facebook investors frustrated with the stock’s decline since its public offering are paying the price for betting on a short-term rally. “You shouldn’t buy a farm because you think you’re going to sell it the next day for more money,” Buffett said. “That’s a terrible reason to buy a stock.” Facebook began trading on May 18 after selling shares in an initial public offering for $38 apiece, valuing the Menlo Park, California-based social network at $104.2 billion at the time. The shares have fallen 19% from the IPO price.

Add a few billions to value of Buffett’s charitable pledge (Omaha)
Warren Buffett already has donated more than one-third of the $37 billion originally listed as the value of the charitable pledge he made in 2006. But he still owns about $44 billion worth of stock in Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Omaha investment company he heads. Almost all of that remaining stock is earmarked to go to the same five charitable foundations.

Warren Buffett: With stigma reduced, more cities will file bankruptcy (Omaha)
Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said municipal bankruptcies are set to rise as there’s less stigma attached after three California cities sought protection just weeks apart. The city council of San Bernardino, a community of about 210,000 east of Los Angeles, decided Tuesday to seek court protection from its creditors. The move came just weeks after Stockton, a city of 292,000 east of San Francisco, became the biggest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy. Mammoth Lakes also sought the shelter this month.

Warren Buffett: Raise debt ceiling today (Politico)
Disgusted by the brinksmanship on Capitol Hill, Warren Buffett is calling on Congress to raise the debt ceiling as soon as possible — like, today. “I think people are quite disgusted with Congress,” the business magnate told Bloomberg TV. “The idea of having a debt ceiling — as this country grows, our debt capacity grows. To go through this charade, we are going to increase the debt ceiling, so why Congress does not do it in five minutes instead of spending weeks and weeks posturing and complaining and holding other things hostage, I think it is disgusting.”

Buffett not confident of major deal by year-end (Reuters)
Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) would still like to make a major acquisition this year but the prospects for a deal are starting to look less likely, Chief Executive Warren Buffett said on Friday. In an interview with Bloomberg TV at the Sun Valley media conference, Buffett said Berkshire could possibly do smaller deals this year, like buying more local newspapers, but a large deal was more elusive. “I’m not confident but I’m sure hoping,” Buffett said.

Buffett gases Phillips 66; energy stocks rally (MarketWatch)
A report that marquee investor Warren Buffett waded into shares of Phillips 66 sparked healthy gains in shares of the refiner on Friday, as energy stocked rallied with the broad equities market. Shares of Phillips 66 (US:PSX) jumped 5% after the Berkshire Hathaway founder and chief Buffett told Bloomberg News he reduced his holdings in ConocoPhillips (US:COP) and bought into Phillips 66, a recent newcomer to the S&P 500 (US:SPX)

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